“At 16 you can walk into a construction company and start an apprenticeship.
Most lads/lasses would start on say £60 per day. (The minimum wage for any apprentice in the UK is £4.81 per hour but very few construction companies pay such a low starting wage)
Let’s look at a hypothetical calculation of earnings for those who choose the apprenticeship route:
£60 daily salary x 5 days =£300 earnings per week
Multiplied by 52 weeks = £15,600 per year.
(The Gov.UK website states that the average starter wage is £17,000 for a pitched roofer, and £20,000 starting wage for a scaffolder annually, so I am being conservative here with my estimations)
By the time that person is 3 years in and qualified, let’s say they are now on £80 per day.
So years 1, 2 and 3, they’ve earned £46,800 total earnings.
Years 4 and 5 they earned £20,800 per year.
That’s £41,600 in total earnings.
So that’s a total of £88,400 earned in the same time frame that a student went to college and university.
That Uni student comes out having earned no money and owes money.
The national average student loan debt is £45,800
If you showed this to school kids at the stage when they were deciding what options to pick, I think it would drastically alter their perceptions of University, or would at least give them another avenue to consider.
Also, by the time the tradesperson has been at it for more than 5 years, it would be safe to assume they would be earning quite a bit more money, let’s say £120 a day, for argument sake.
That person is now earning £31,200 annually.
They are already 88k ahead of the university student in overall wealth over the first 5 years and now heading for even more income and stability.
On the other hand, the average university graduate in their first role earns £20,940 annually.
That’s the first £20k they have earned and they are now 22 years old.
By the end of that graduate’s first year of earning £20,940, the tradesperson has now earned a total of £119,600
Let’s look at how that translates into buying your first property:
The average 2 bedroom house in the UK is now £255,000
To buy such a house, you will need a deposit of 15% (approx £37,500)
You could save that amount of money over 6 years at a rate of £120 per week.
Meanwhile, the university graduate owes £10,000 more than that in student debts.
Compared to 1980, young people today are buying houses at a depleted rate of 50% from that year.
But interestingly, University entrants have doubled since 1992 now standing at 2.66 million students aged between 18 and 24 years old annually.
That means that more than 1 in 3 young people of that age bracket are in further education with very limited income potential until they finish University.
Young people are struggling to get onto the housing ladder, and it is no surprise given the fact that graduates are opting to have no financial mobility at all until they are 22 years old.
To add, I realise certain professions require a university degree, as in the case of law, medicine, engineering to name a few, but we can’t all do only a handful of jobs. The apprenticeship route opens up over 900 career options to young people as an alternative to university.”